Previously on Into the Badlands, “Chapter XVI: Wolf’s Breath, Dragon’s Fire”
As anticipated, the ongoing cold war among the Barons turned white hot after Quinn, The Widow and Chau brought all manner of chaos in the second half of last season. Now that Marton Csokas’ Southern-fried megalomaniac is no longer of this world, the last two Barons have desperately snatched up open territory while amassing their armies to seize control over what little unclaimed resources remain. For the moment it appears Minerva has Chau on the defensive as her charisma has drawn more cogs and clippers to her .
Her promise of a new dawn of peace and equality still hits hard for many that had been exploited most their lives, but the few that were privy to The Widow’s true intentions know she’s willing to sacrifice as many needed to accomplish her goals - as seen in the opening moments where hundreds of nameless soldiers from both sides lie in an undistinguished battlefield.
Knowing she needs a proper regent after Sunny and Tilda betrayed her, The Widow enlisted the services of Nathaniel Moon (Sherman Augustus), making the biggest impression during the premiere. It’s apparent Moon will be an intimidating force throughout season three given Minerva’s insistence that he work for her. Despite losing his hand (and replacing it with a wrought iron hook… hello, tetanus!) Moon is able to give The Widow a run for her money, countering and thrusting and leaping across the killing grounds Moon calls home. While the scene affirmed Emily Beecham’s continued excellence, it was also a testament to Augustus’ considerable effort in portraying the skill and ferocity of The Badlands’ greatest clipper. From the moment we were introduced to Moon in “Red Sun, Silver Moon”, his was a character that had viewers begging for his recurrence, and damn… Nathaniel’s return was worth the wait.
As for the rest of Badlands’ intrepid cast, most of them were conveniently reunited during the premiere in the six months since Quinn’s death and all hell broke loose. In little time, viewers learned Baije was unsuccessful communicating with Azra and eventually captured by The Widow’s forces. In the months he was missing, Tilda and Odessa (Maddison Jaizani) formed an insurgency to defend and supply thousands of refugees whom no depend on the charity and benevolence of Lydia. Back at the Sanctuary, M.K. (Aramis Knight) remains a well-kept prisoner under The Widow’s personal guard, developing a habit for women and opium. The Gift has practically disappeared, drawing Minerva’s ire. The way M.K. has been thrown about narratively has generated mixed results, and he still appears to be in want.
Between the war, M.K.’s defiance, Tilda’s betrayal and Sunny being the key to it all, The Widow has an awful lot on her plate. What she and Chau hadn’t taken into account was another faction from beyond the Badlands eager to fill in the power vacuum. Enter Pilgrim (Babou Ceesay), a charismatic cult leader (?) that believes the clues to Azra’s location lie throughout the Badlands. In his stead are a pair of Gifted young killers Nix (Ella-Rae Smith) and Castor (The King formerly known as Tommen, Dean-Charles Chapman), who are more than capable of slaughtering a squad of Chau’s battle-hardened warriors. Once again, the choreography and fight team proved themselves the best in the business with their visceral, blood-drenched ballet to cap off a thoroughly satisfying premiere.
There was plenty to take in season three’s opener and oddly enough, the world appeared much larger and colorful despite the grim, unyielding spectre of death. As the old saying goes, “the darkest hour is just before the dawn”; though the war between the last two Barons may not appear to have an end, the oncoming storm that is Pilgrim’s followers along with Sunny’s unbound lethality in hiding, the Badlands’ most adept survivors may be waist deep in the blood of the innocent as they seek power and the promise of a new dawn.
"Chapter XVII: Enter the Phoenix" Into the Badlands - S3E1 - Chapter XVII: Enter the Phoenix | Daniel Wu, Emily Beecham, Aramis Knight, Orla Brady, Ally Ioannides, Sherman Augustus, Babou Ceesay, Lorraine Toussaint, Ella-Rae Smith, Nick Frost | Writers: Matt Lambert | Director: Paco Cabezas
Into the Badlands S3E1 Review Score
"Chapter XVII: Enter the Phoenix"
Into the Badlands - S3E1 - Chapter XVII: Enter the Phoenix | Daniel Wu, Emily Beecham, Aramis Knight, Orla Brady, Ally Ioannides, Sherman Augustus, Babou Ceesay, Lorraine Toussaint, Ella-Rae Smith, Nick Frost | Writers: Matt Lambert | Director: Paco Cabezas